Parliamentary Election campaign scenario remains unchanged
The authorities will control the main stage of the campaign: counting the votes. This year’s scenario remains unchanged for the opposition and becomes a ‘test trial’ for the members of quaNGO “Belaya Rus” [White Russia].
By August 9, 6301 district election commissions for the parliamentary elections in September were formed. Among 68,945 commissions’ members less than 0.1% is the opposition.
Two main quangos, “Belaya Rus” and the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus have been extraordinary active during this campaign. There will be 4189 (6.1%) members of “Belaya Rus” represented in the precinct election commissions and 9418 representatives of the FPB (13.7%).
“Belaya Rus” leadership had repeatedly emphasized its readiness to support the governmental policy during this campaign therefore work of “Belaya Rus” activists in the election commissions would be put through a loyalty to the authorities’ test. “Belaya Rus” is taking part in the elections to test its capabilities and assets for the organization of local, parliamentary and presidential election campaigns in the future.
At the same time, representation of opposition parties and movements in the local election commissions is very low. For example, political parties “Fair World”, Belarusian Social Democratic Party (Gromada), United Civil Party, and the BPF managed to register 61 representatives in the precinct election commissions all together (with zero representation in the Minsk city).
Therefore, there are no changes in the way the ongoing election campaign is carried out. The deterioration of the Belarusian foreign relations, namely, the Swedish-Belarusian diplomatic row also lies within the usual trend. In this context, there are little chances anything might change: very little time is left before the 23rd September, the Election Day.
The Belarusian authorities regard the Catholic conference as yet another international event to promote Minsk as a global negotiating platform. Minsk’s proposal to organise a meeting between the Roman-Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church is rather an image-making undertaking than a serious intention. However, the authorities could somewhat extend the opportunities for the Roman-Catholic Church in Belarus due to developing contacts with the Catholic world.
Minsk is attempting to lay out a mosaic from various international religious, political and sportive events to shape a positive image of Belarus for promoting the Helsinki 2.0 idea.
Belarus’ invitation to the head of the Holy See for a meeting with the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church should be regarded as a continuation of her foreign policy efforts in shaping Minsk’s peacekeeping image and enhancing Belarus’ international weight. The Belarusian authorities are aware that their initiative is unlikely to find supporters among the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. In Russia, isolationist sentiments prevail.
In addition, for domestic audiences, the authorities make up for the lack of tangible economic growth with demonstrations of growth in Minsk’s authority at international level through providing a platform for religious, sportive and other dialogues.